With much hype surrounding the upcoming Rajinikanth flick, prices of tickets are soaring. There is no distinction between balcony, first, second and third classes; they cost the same. A couple of theatres in Madurai have openly priced all the tickets at 300 online, six times higher than the permitted price. “The theatre is not a much sought after one, hence they sell the ticket for 300. In some theatres, a ticket for the early morning show is sold at 650 and for other shows, it is 400,” a Rajini fan said.
Kabali is expected to release in around 10 theatres in Madurai city and people are already making a beeline to buy tickets. The theatre owners say they are left with no other option but to charge high rates for tickets as they have invested a lot of money in the film. “We have got just one week to earn the money we have invested. If we sell the ticket at the government fixed price, we have to face a huge loss,” said a theatre owner on condition of anonymity.
A veteran theatre owner and distributor in Chennai, requesting anonymity said, “Movie tickets should not be sold for more than the stipulated 120. But are being sold at prices ten times higher. Members of charitable organisations like the Lions Club and Rotary Club have been involved in the practice for raising funds for their projects.”
“There is no mechanism to report the overpricing of the tickets. The government is not interested in curbing illegal sales. We have been requesting one government after another over the last 25 years but nothing has been done. Besides the government must not be putting a cap on the price. Theatre owners do much better business in neighbouring states like Karnataka where tickets are sold for 1,500. We also need the freedom of fixing our own rates.”A Rajinikanth fan club member for more than 20 years, Prabhakaran said, “At theatres in the Chengalpattu region including Kasi, Vettri and Rohini, tickets were sold out within an hour after bookings opened. But a large of number of the tickets, priced around 50, is sold through agents for 300. Chengalpattu region theatres account for the highest collection in the state. Tickets were being sold in black outside city multiplexes like the PVR Cinemas at Ampa Skywalk mall for around 500.
Madurai collector K Veera Raghava Rao said he would form RDO teams and take action against theatres.